Marci Jobson will go by her married name with the Women’s National Team from now on, but her hard-nosed game on the field, contrasted with her self-effacing wit and warm personality off it, won’t change. While in Portugal with the U.S. preparing for the Algarve Cup, she sat down with Center Circle to answer 11 questions, ranging from her double-duty with college coaching, to her late arrival on the international scene and why she was almost Jessica Jobson.
Center Circle: First off, why did you decide to go by your married name after playing under Marci Miller for two years?
Marci Jobson: “I think when I actually thought about it, I realized how much (her husband Paul) has done for me since I’ve been married. He’s been so selfless and changing your name is a certain type of respect you can show. To be honest, it was hard for me to change my name, but changing it shows how much I love him and respect him.”
Center Circle: You are the head women’s soccer coach at Northern Illinois. What is the most difficult aspect of juggling that job and playing for the National Team?
MJ: “I think wanting to do a really good job with both. Both are full time jobs that take a lot of energy and work to make them successful. I so badly want to do a great job with both that there are times I feel tired or exhausted and that I am short-changing one. But overall, I see a time frame that I am going to do this and right now I am looking to the World Cup to try to make this happen. My team and my AD Jim Phillips have just been very supportive from day one and he feels it is positive for the program. He has encouraged it and understands that I can only play for so long. I definitely couldn’t do this without a supportive athletic director.”
Center Circle: Your assistant coach is also your husband, Paul. How does the coaching relationship affect the marriage dynamic?
MJ: “I don’t think a lot couples could coach together, but Paul and I are a good team. I treat him, and the girls look at him, as if he is a co-head coach and he does his job so well that most of the time I’m praising him for the work he’s done and I feel good about it. We do sometimes have different opinions and I tend to be the one who gets more emotional and irritated if we’re not on the same page, but most of the time we see eye-to-eye on things.”
Center Circle: You have the reputation of being a hard player and a nasty tackler. Deserved?
MJ: “I don’t think I’m any harder than Abby Wambach, Leslie Osborne or Shannon Boxx, who are all extremely tough players. I see myself as someone who works as hard as I can. I don’t know how deserved that tag is, but I think I’m a tough player, and I take that as a compliment because I see those qualities in teammates that I admire and I know how tough it is to play against those three players.”
Center Circle: The NIU Huskies had a Cinderella run to the conference championship game last year. What are your goals for this upcoming season?
MJ: “I think our goals for the upcoming season are of course to compete for a MAC title, but also to continue to develop our team chemistry and system of play and continue to give our young players experience. We only graduate one senior so we’re still going to have an extremely young team. We only have three seniors next year, which is exciting to me because you can continue to build and get better each year.”
Center Circle: You have allowed Carli Lloyd the privilege of living with you during the upcoming Residency Training Camp. How did she convince you that she’d be a good roommate?
MJ: “Well, Carli Lloyd was my roommate in China (last January) and it was her trial run. I must report that she was successful as a roommate. We both had bad ankles, so we did the ice bucket together, we watched similar movies and we were just good roommates. Carli is a good person and a lot of fun and I am excited about it.”
Center Circle: You are the youngest of eight children, all of whom have names that start with “M”. You parents must have had a good sense of humor?
MJ: “There is a strange story there. I was actually born Jessica. It was on my birth certificate, but my dad and all my siblings wanted me to be Marci. My dad worked at the hospital where I was born, and while my mom was still in the recovery room, he changed it to Marci.”
Center Circle: Who is your favorite sibling, Maggie, Marty, Mindy, Mary, Mike, Monica or Mark?
MJ: “What are you trying to do to me with that question? I will say that I was a good kid because I learned from all of their mistakes, but of course, I love them all exactly the same.”
Center Circle: You were the second oldest player ever to get your first cap for the USA. Do you see yourself as an example for players who might be older, but are still holding out hope for a call-up?
MJ: “Yes, I do, and the important thing for all players to remember is that if you continue to work hard and continue to try to get better, you never know what could happen. Your ultimate dream can come true and you can get a shot to play for the full National Team, so don’t lose faith.”
Center Circle: You are a player who has always played. Since college you consistently played when many adult women would have hung up the cleats. You played in the W-League before the WUSA, then played three years in the league and also played one year in Germany. What has kept you going?
MJ: “I think the biggest thing that has kept me going is that I love to play soccer. I never really played to make the National Team, I never really played other than because it was fun. I am passionate about it and right now I am fortunate enough to have that passion be a job, so I’d be crazy not to play.”
Center Circle: You have never played against China, Finland or Sweden, the USA’s three opponents at the Algarve Cup. Which team would you most like to play against?
MJ: “I’d probably say Sweden, because they’re big and strong in the air and that’s obviously one of my strengths, but I also know that we have a lot of good players here and I’ll be ready to play when the team needs me.”